Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac admitted his team’s Heineken Champions Cup chances had been “hurt” by Ulster following a 25-24 home defeat.
The Scarlets – European semi-finalists last season – are facing an early exit following a third successive Pool Four loss.
Two Steff Evans tries and a late Dan Davis touchdown – plus nine points from the boots of Rhys Patchell and Dan Jones – kept them in contention, but Ulster ultimately prevailed in bonus-point fashion.
“Our defensive inaccuracy in the first half, in particular, and with the try they scored from 60 metres, we fell off some basic one on one tackles, which is unacceptable at this level,” Pivac said.
“They played very well, but we weren’t that accurate defensively on a couple of occasions, and we paid for it. Similarly, on attack, we weren’t clinical enough.
“For us, it is about improving on that performance and keep building and making sure that we get our accuracy back into our game and put teams away when we make these breaks.
“We have got three more games in this competition, starting next week (against Ulster in Belfast), and we want to turn tonight’s result around.
“They hurt us at home tonight and hurt our chances in this competition, so I guess we want to try and repay the debt.
“You can look back and pull games to bits, it’s not going to change the situation we are in. It is frustrating.
“We have got to focus on the positives out of that game and make sure we keep building on our performances, because we have still got a lot to play for this season.”
Ireland star Jacob Stockdale produced another try-scoring performance as Ulster put a huge hole in Scarlets’ European hopes.
Stockdale, whose touchdown helped Ireland beat world champions New Zealand last month, struck in the first half at Parc y Scarlets, while his fellow wing Henry Speight, centre Will Addison and number eight Marcell Coetzee also scored, with scrum-half John Cooney kicking a penalty and conversion.
It left Ulster level on points with Pool Four pace-setters Racing 92 ahead of next Friday’s Scarlets return fixture.
Ulster backs coach and former Scarlets and Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel said: “We had prepared well, and we realised it was a massive game for us.
“The Scarlets have a fantastic home record, so it was a huge challenge for us.
“But we couldn’t have asked for more. We have got some good players in our squad, and they all stood up tonight.
“In this period in Europe, the job is sort of half done. We are delighted with the win, but we know there is going to be a backlash at our place next week.
“We are a work in progress. We are delighted with the win, and our aim is to get better week on week.”
In the other game last night, Edinburgh secured a 31-13 win over Leicester at Murrayfield.
Know more about Sport360 Application